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    Default War of Terror

    The Terrorism Industry
    Terrorism Defined

    By STEPHEN LENDMAN

    Probably no word better defines or underscores the Bush presidency than "terrorism" even though his administration wasn't the first to exploit this highly charged term. We use to explain what "they do to us" to justify what we "do to them," or plan to, always deceitfully couched in terms of humanitarian intervention, promoting democracy, or bringing other people the benefits of western civilization Gandhi thought would be a good idea when asked once what he thought about it.

    Ronald Reagan exploited it in the 1980s to declare "war on international terrorism" referring to it as the "scourge of terrorism" and "the plague of the modern age." It was clear he had in mind launching his planned Contra proxy war of terrorism against the democratically elected Sandinista government in Nicaragua and FMLN opposition resistance to the US-backed El Salvador fascist regime the same way George Bush did it waging his wars of aggression post-9/11.

    It's a simple scheme to pull off, and governments keep using it because it always works. Scare the public enough, and they'll go along with almost anything thinking it's to protect their safety when, in fact, waging wars of aggression and state-sponsored violence have the opposite effect. The current Bush wars united practically the entire world against us including an active resistance increasingly targeting anything American.

    George Orwell knew about the power of language before the age of television and the internet enhanced it exponentially. He explained how easy "doublethink" and "newspeak" can convince us "war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength." He also wrote "All war propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from (chicken hawk) people who are not fighting (and) Big Brother is watching...." us to be sure we get the message and obey it.

    In 1946, Orwell wrote about "Politics and the English Language" saying "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible" to hide what its user has in mind. So "defenseless villages are bombarded from the air (and) this is called 'pacification'." And the president declares a "war on terrorism" that's, in fact, a "war of terrorism" against designated targets, always defenseless against it, because with adversaries able to put up a good fight, bullies, like the US, opt for diplomacy or other political and economic means, short of open conflict.

    The term "terrorism" has a long history, and reference to a "war on terrorism" goes back a 100 years or more. Noted historian Howard Zinn observed how the phrase is a contradiction in terms as "How can you make war on terrorism, if war is terrorism (and if) you respond to terrorism with (more) terrorism....you multiply (the amount of) terrorism in the world." Zinn explains that "Governments are terrorists on an enormously large scale," and when they wage war the damage caused infinitely exceeds anything individuals or groups can inflict.

    It's also clear that individual or group "terrorist" acts are crimes, not declarations or acts of war. So a proper response to the 9/11 perpetrators was a police one, not an excuse for the Pentagon to attack other nations having nothing to do with it.

    George Bush's "war on terrorism" began on that fateful September day when his administration didn't miss a beat stoking the flames of fear with a nation in shock ready to believe almost anything - true, false or in between. And he did it thanks to the hyped enormity of the 9/11 event manipulated for maximum political effect for the long-planned aggressive imperial adventurism his hard line administration had in mind only needing "a catastrophic and catalyzing (enough) event - like a new Pearl Harbor" to lauch. With plans drawn and ready, the president and key administration officials terrified the public with visions of terrorism branded and rebranded as needed from the war on it, to the global war on it (GLOT), to the long war on it, to a new name coming soon to re-ignite a flagging public interest in and growing disillusionment over two foreign wars gone sour and lost.

    Many writers, past and present, have written on terrorism with their definitions and analyses of it. The views of four noted political and social critics are reviewed below, but first an official definition to frame what follows.

    How the US Code Defines Terrorism

    Under the US Code, "international terrorism" includes activities involving:

    (A) "violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;"

    (B) are intended to -

    (i) "intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

    (ii) influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

    (iii) affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

    (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States...."

    The US Army Operational Concept for Terrorism (TRADOC Pamphlet No. 525-37, 1984) shortens the above definition to be "the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature....through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear."


    Eqbal Ahmad On Terrorism

    Before his untimely death, Indian activist and scholar Eqbal Ahmad spoke on the subject of terrorism in one of his last public talks at the University of Colorado in October, 1998. Seven Stories Press then published his presentation in one of its Open Media Series short books titled "Terrorism, Theirs and Ours." The talk when delivered was prophetic in light of the September 11 event making his comments especially relevant.

    He began quoting a 1984 Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz speech calling terrorism "modern barbarism, a form of political violence, a threat to Western civilization, a menace to Western moral values" and more, all the while never defining it because that would "involve a commitment to analysis, comprehension and adherence to some norms of consistency" not consistent with how this country exploits it for political purposes. It would also expose Washington's long record of supporting the worst kinds of terrorist regimes worldwide in Indonesia, Iran under the Shah, Central America, the South American fascist generals, Marcos in the Philippines, Pol Pot and Saddam at their worst, the current Saudi and Egyptian regimes, Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), and for the people of Greece, who paid an enormous price, the Greek colonels the US brought to power in the late 1960s for which people there now with long memories still haven't forgiven us.

    Ahmad continued saying "What (then) is terrorism? Our first job is to define the **** thing, name it, give it a description of some kind, other than (the) "moral equivalent of (our) founding fathers (or) a moral outrage to Western civilization." He cited Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as a source saying "Terrorism is an intense, overpowering fear....the use of terrorizing methods of governing or resisting a government." It's simple, to the point, fair, and Ahmad calls it a definition of "great virtue. It focuses on the use of coercive violence....that is used illegally, extra-constitutionally, to coerce" saying this is true because it's what terrorism is whether committed by governments, groups, or individuals. This definition omits what Ahmad feels doesn't apply - motivation, whether or not the cause is just or not because "motives differ (yet) make no difference."

    Ahmad identifies the following types of terrorism:

    * State terrorism committed by nations against anyone - other states, groups or individuals, including state-sponsored assassination targets;

    * Religious terrorism like Christians and Muslims slaughtering each other during Papal crusades; many instances of Catholics killing Protestants and the reverse like in Northern Ireland; Christians and Jews butchering each other; Sunnis killing Shiites and the reverse; and any other kind of terror violence inspired or justified by religion carrying out God's will as in the Old Testament preaching it as an ethical code for a higher purpose;

    * Crime (organized or otherwise) terrorism as "all kinds of crime commit terror."

    * Pathology terrorism by those who are sick, may "want the attention of the world (and decide to do it by) kill(ing) a president" or anyone else.

    * Political terrorism by a private group Ahmad calls "oppositional terror" explaining further that at times these five types "converge on each other starting out in one form, then converging into one or more others.

    Nation states, like the US, focus only on one kind of terrorism - political terrorism that's "the least important in terms of cost to human lives and human property (with the highest cost type being) state terrorism." The current wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine underscore what Ahmad means. Never mentioned, though, is that political or retail terrorism is a natural response by oppressed or desperate groups when they're victims of far more grievous acts of state terrorism. Also unmentioned is how to prevent terrorist acts Noam Chomsky explains saying the way to get "them" to stop attacking "us" is stop attacking "them."

    Ahmad responded to a question in the book version of his speech with more thoughts on the subject. Asked to define terrorism the way he did in an article he wrote a year earlier titled "Comprehending Terror," he called it "the illegal use of violence for the purposes of influencing somebody's behavior, inflicting punishment, or taking revenge (adding) it has been practiced on a larger scale, globally, both by governments and by private groups." When committed against a state, never asked is what produces it.

    Further, official and even academic definitions of state terrorism exclude what Ahmad calls "illegal violence:" torture, burning of villages, destruction of entire peoples, (and) genocide." These definitions are biased against individuals and groups favoring governments committing terrorist acts. Our saying it's for self-defense, protecting the "national security," or "promoting democracy" is subterfuge baloney disguising our passion for state-sponsored violence practiced like it our national pastime.

    Ahmad also observed that modern-day "third-world....fascist governments (in countries like) Indonesia (under Suharto), Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo - DRC), Iran (under the Shah), South Korea (under its generals), and elsewhere - were fully supported by one or the other of the superpowers," and for all the aforementioned ones and most others that was the US.

    Further, Ahmad notes "religious zealotry has been a major source of terror" but nearly always associated in the West with Islamic groups. In fact, it's a global problem with "Jewish terrorists....terrorizing an entire people in the Middle East (the Palestinians, supported by) Israel which is supported by the government of the United States." Crimes against humanity in the name of religion are also carried out by radical Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and others, not just extremist Muslims that are the only ones reported in the West.

    In August, 1998 in the Dawn English-language Pakistani newspaper, Ahmad wrote about the power of the US in a unipolar world saying: "Who will define the parameters of terrorism, or decide where terrorists lurk? Why, none other than the United States, which can from the rooftops of the world set out its claim to be sheriff, judge and hangman, all at one and the same time." So while publicly supporting justice, the US spurns international law to be the sole decider acting by the rules of what we say goes, and the law is what we say it is. Further, before the age of George Bush, Ahmad sounded a note of hope saying nothing is "historically permanent (and) I don't think American power is permanent. It itself is very temporary, and therefore its excesses have to be, by definition, impermanent."

    In addition, he added, "America is a troubled country" for many reasons. It's "economic capabilities do not harmonize with its military (ones and) its ruling class' will to dominate is not quite shared by" what its people want. For now, however, the struggle will continue because the US "sowed in the Middle East (after the Gulf war but before George Bush became president) and South Asia (signaling Pakistan and Afghanistan) very poisonous seeds. Some have ripened and others are ripening. An examination of why they were sown, what has grown, and how they should be reaped is needed (but isn't being done). Missiles won't solve the problem" as is plain as day in mid-2007, with the Bush administration hanging on for dear life in the face of two calamitous wars the president can't acknowledge are hopeless and already lost.


    Edward S. Herman On Terrorism

    Herman wrote a lot on terrorism including his important 1982 book as relevant today as it was then, "The Real Terror Network." It's comprised of US-sponsored authoritarian states following what Herman calls a free market "development model" for corporate gain gotten through a reign of terror unleashed on any homegrown resistance against it and a corrupted dominant media championing it with language Orwell would love.

    Back then, justification given was the need to protect the "free world" from the evils of communism and a supposedly worldwide threat it posed. It was classic "Red Scare" baloney, but it worked to traumatize the public enough to think the Russians would come unless we headed them off, never mind, in fact, the Russians had good reason to fear we'd come because "bombing them back to the stone age" was seriously considered, might have happened, and once almost did.

    Herman reviews examples of "lesser and mythical terror networks" before discussing the real ones. First though, he defines the language beginning with how Orwell characterized political speech already explained above. He then gives a dictionary definition of terrorism as "a mode of governing, or of opposing government, by intimidation" but notes right off a problem for "western propaganda." Defining terrorism this way includes repressive regimes we support, so it's necessary finding "word adaptations (redefining them to) exclude (our) state terrorism (and only) capture the petty (retail) terror of small dissident groups or individuals" or the trumped up "evil empire" kind manufactured out of whole cloth but made to seem real and threatening.

    Herman then explains how the CIA finessed terrorism by referring to "Patterns of International Terrorism" defining it as follows: "Terrorism conducted with the support of a foreign government or organization and/or directed against foreign nationals, institutions, or governments." By this definition, internal death squads killing thousands are excluded because they're not "international" unless a foreign government supports them. That's easy to hide, though, when we're the government and as easy to reveal or fake when it serves our purpose saying it was communist-inspired in the 1980s or "Islamofascist al Qaeda"-conducted or supported now. Saying it makes it so even when it isn't because the power of the message can make us believe Santa Claus is the grinch who stole Christmas.

    Herman also explains how harsh terms like totalitarianism and authoritarianism only apply to adversary regimes while those as bad or worse allied to us are more benignly referred to with terms like "moderate autocrats" or some other corrupted manipulation of language able to make the most beastly tyrants look like enlightened tolerant leaders.

    In fact, these brutes and their governments comprise the "real terror network," and what they did and still do, with considerable US help, contributed to the rise of the "National Security State" (NSS) post-WW II and the growth of terrorism worldwide supporting it. In a word, it rules by "intimidation and violence or the threat of violence." Does the name Augusto Pinochet ring a bell? What about the repressive Shah of Iran even a harsh theocratic state brought relief from?

    Herman explained "the economics of the NSS" that's just as relevant today as then with some updating of events in the age of George Bush. He notes NSS leaders imposed a free market "development model" creating a "favorable investment climate (including) subsidies and tax concessions to business (while excluding) any largess to the non-propertied classes...." It means human welfare be damned, social benefits and democracy are incompatible with the needs of business, unions aren't allowed, a large "reserve army" of workers can easily replace present ones, and those complaining get their heads knocked off with terror tactics being the weapon of choice, and woe to those on the receiving end.

    The Godfather in Washington makes it work with considerable help from the corrupted dominant media selling "free market" misery like it's paradise. Their message praises the dogma, turning a blind eye to the ill effects on real people and the terror needed to keep them in line when they resist characterized as protecting "national security" and "promoting democracy," as already explained. All the while, the US is portrayed as a benevolent innocent bystander, when, if fact, behind the scenes, we pull the strings and tinpot third-world despots dance to them. But don't expect to learn that from the pages of the New York Times always in the lead supporting the worst US-directed policies characterized only as the best and most enlightened.

    At the end of his account, Herman offers solutions worlds apart from the way the Bush administration rules. They include opposing "martial law governments" and demanding the US end funding, arming and training repressive regimes. Also condemned are "harsh prison sentences, internments and killings," especially against labor leaders. Finally, he cites "the right to self-determination" for all countries free from foreign interference, that usually means Washington, that must be held to account and compelled to "stop bullying and manipulating....tiny states" and end the notion they must be client ones, or else.

    Referring to the Reagan administration in the 1980s, Herman says what applies even more under George Bush. If allowed to get away with it, Washington "will continue to escalate the violence (anywhere in the world it chooses) to preserve military mafia/oligarch control" meaning we're boss, and what we say goes. Leaders not getting the message will be taught the hard way, meaning state-sponsored terrorism portrayed as benign intervention.

    Herman revisited terrorism with co-author Gerry O'Sullivan in 1989 in their book "The Terrorism Industry: The Experts and Institutions That Shape Our View of Terror." The authors focus on what kinds of victims are important ("worthy" ones) while others (the "unworthy") go unmentioned or are characterized as victimizers with the corrupted media playing their usual role trumpeting whatever policies serve the interests of power. The authors state "....the West's experts and media have engaged in a process of 'role reversal' in....handling....terrorism... focus(ing) on selected, relatively small-scale terrorists and rebels including....genuine national liberation movements" victimized by state-sponsored terror. Whenever they strike back in self-defense they're portrayed as victimizers. Examples, then and now, are legion, and the authors draw on them over that earlier period the book covers.

    They also explain the main reason individuals and groups attack us is payback for our attacking or oppressing them far more grievously. As already noted, the very nature of wholesale state-directed terror is infinitely more harmful than the retail kind with the order of magnitude being something like comparing massive corporate fraud cheating shareholders and employees to a day's take by a local neighborhood pickpocket.

    "The Terrorism Industry" shows the West needs enemies. Before 1991, the "evil empire" Soviet Union was the lead villain with others in supporting roles like Libya's Gaddafi, the PLO under Arafat (before the Oslo Accords co-opted him), the Sandinistas under Ortega laughably threatening Texas we were told, and other designees portrayed as arch enemies of freedom because they won't sell out their sovereignty to rules made in Washington. Spewing this baloney takes lots of chutzpah and manufactured demonizing generously served up by "state-sponsored propaganda campaigns" dutifully trumpeted by the dominant media stenographers for power. Their message is powerful enough to convince people western states and nuclear-powered Israel can't match ragtag marauding "terrorist" bands coming to neighborhoods near us unless we flatten countries they may be coming from. People believe it, and it's why state-sponsored terrorism can be portrayed as self-defense even though it's pure scare tactic baloney.

    The authors stress the western politicization process decides who qualifies as targeted, and "The basic rule has been: if connected with leftists, violence may be called terrorist," but when it comes from rightist groups it's always self-defense. Again, it's classic Orwell who'd be smiling saying I told you so if he were still here. He also understood terrorism serves a "larger service." Overall, it's to get the public terrified enough to go along with any agenda governments have in mind like wars of aggression, huge increases in military spending at the expense of social services getting less, and the loss of civil liberties by repressive policies engineered on the phony pretext of increasing our safety, in fact, being harmed.

    The authors also note different forms of "manufactured terrorism" such as inflating or inventing a menace out of whole cloth. It's also used in the private sector to weaken or destroy "union leaders, activists, and political enemies, sometimes in collusion with agents of the state."

    The authors call all of the above "The Terrorism Industry of institutes and experts who formulate and channel analysis and information on terrorism in accordance with Western demands" often in cahoots with "Western governments, intelligence agencies, and corporate/conservative foundations and funders." It's a "closed system" designed to "reinforce state propaganda" to program the public mind to go along with any agenda the institutions of power have in mind, never beneficial to our own. Yet, their message is so potent they're able to convince us it is. It's an astonishing achievement going on every day able to make us believe almost anything, and the best way to beat it is don't listen.


    Noam Chomsky On Terrorism

    In his book "Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy," co-authored with Gilbert Achcar, Chomsky defines terrorism saying he's been writing about it since 1981 around the time Ronald Reagan first declared war on "international terrorism" to justify all he had in mind mentioned above. Chomsky explained "You don't declare a war on terrorism unless you're planning yourself to undertake massive international terrorism," and calling it self-defense is pure baloney.

    Chomsky revisits the subject in many of his books, and in at least two earlier ones addressed terrorism or international terrorism as those volumes' core issue discussed further below. In "Perilous Power," it's the first issue discussed right out of the gate, and he starts off defining it. He does it using the official US Code definition given above calling it a commonsense one. But there's a problem in that by this definition the US qualifies as a terrorist state, and the Reagan administration in the 1980s practiced it, so it had to change it to avoid an obvious conflict.

    Other problems arose as well when the UN passed resolutions on terrorism, the first major one being in December, 1987 condemning terrorism as a crime in the harshest terms. It passed in the General Assembly overwhelmingly but not unanimously, 153 - 2, with the two opposed being the US and Israel so although the US vote wasn't a veto it served as one twice over. When Washington disapproves, it's an actual veto in the Security Council or a de facto one in the General Assembly meaning it's blocked either way, and it's erased from history as well. Case closed.

    Disguising what Martin Luther King called "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today," referring to this country, a new definition had to be found excluding the terror we carry out against "them," including only what they do to "us." It's not easy, but, in practical terms, this is the definition we use - what you do to "us," while what we do to you is "benign humanitarian intervention." Repeated enough in the mainstream, the message sinks in even though it's baloney.

    Chomsky then explains what other honest observers understand in a post-NAFTA world US planners knew would devastate ordinary people on the receiving end of so-called free trade policies designed to throttle them for corporate gain. He cites National Intelligence Council projections that globalization "will be rocky, marked by chronic financial volatility and a widening economic divide....Regions, countries, and groups feeling left behind will face deepening economic stagnation, political instability, and cultural alienation. They will foster political, ethnic, ideological, and religious extremism, along with the violence that often accompanies it."

    Pentagon projections agree with plans set to savagely suppress expected retaliatory responses. How to stop the cycle of violence? End all types of exploitation including so-called one-way "free trade," adopting instead a fair trade model like Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government follows that's equitable to all trading partners and their people. The antidote to bad policy, brutal repression, wars and the terrorism they generate is equity and justice for all. However, the US won't adopt the one solution sure to work because it hurts profits that come ahead of people needs.

    Chomsky wrote about terrorism at length much earlier as well in his 1988 book "The Culture of Terrorism." In it he cites "the Fifth Freedom" meaning "the freedom to rob, to exploit and to dominate society, to undertake any course of action to insure that existing privilege is protected and advanced." This "freedom" is incompatible with the other four Franklin Roosevelt once announced - freedom of speech, worship, want and fear all harmed by this interloper. To get the home population to go along with policies designed to hurt them, "the state must spin an elaborate web of illusion and deceit (to keep people) inert and limited in the capacity to develop independent modes of thought and perception." It's called "manufacturing consent" to keep the rabble in line, using hard line tactics when needed.

    "The Cultural of Terrorism" covers the Reagan years in the 1980s and its agenda of state terror in the post-Vietnam climate of public resistance to direct intervention that didn't hamper Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. So unable to send in the Marines, Reagan resorted to state terror proxy wars with key battlegrounds being Central America and Afghanistan. The book focuses on the former, the scandals erupting from it, and damage control manipulation so this country can continue pursuing policies dedicated to rule by force whenever persuasion alone won't work.

    A "new urgency" emerged in June, 1986 when the World Court condemned the US for attacking Nicaragua using the Contras in a proxy war of aggression against a democratically elected government unwilling to operate by rules made in Washington. In a post-Vietnam climate opposed to this sort of thing, policies then were made to work by making state terror look like humanitarian intervention with local proxies on the ground doing our killing for us and deceiving the public to go along by scaring it to death.

    So with lots of dominant media help, Reagan pursued his terror wars in Central America with devastating results people at home heard little about if they read the New York Times or watched the evening news suppressing the toll Chomsky reveals as have others:

    -- over 50,000 slaughtered in El Salvador,

    -- over 100,000 corpses in Guatemala just in the 1980s and over 200,000 including those killed earlier and since,

    -- a mere 11,000 in Nicaragua that got off relatively easy because the people had an army to fight back while in El Salvador and Guatemala the army was the enemy.

    The tally shows Ronald Reagan gets credit for over 160,000 Central American deaths alone, but not ordinary ones. They came "Pol Pot-style....with extensive torture, rape, mutilation, disappearance," and political assassinations against members of the clergy including El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Romero gunned down by an assassin while celebrating mass inside San Salvador's Hospital de la Divina Frovidencia. His "voice for the voiceless" concern for the poor and oppressed and courageous opposition to death squad mass-killing couldn't be tolerated in a part of the world ruled by wealthy elites getting plenty of support from some of the same names in Washington now ravaging Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Chomsky cites the Reagan Doctrine's commitment to opposing leftist resistance movements throughout the 1980s, conducting state-sponsored terror to "construct an international terrorist network of impressive sophistication, without parallel in history....and used it" clandestinely fighting communism.

    With lots of help from Congress and the dominant media, the administration contained the damage that erupted in late 1986 from what was known as the Iran-Contra scandal over illegally selling arms to Iran to fund the Contras. Just like the farcical Watergate investigations, the worst crimes and abuses got swept under the rug, and in the end no one in the 1980s even paid a price for the lesser ones. So a huge scandal greater than Watergate, that should have toppled a president, ended up being little more than a tempest in a teapot after the dust settled. It makes it easy understanding how George Bush gets away with mass-murder, torture and much more almost making Reagan's years seem tame by comparison.

    Chomsky continued discussing our "culture of terrorism" with the Pentagon practically boasting over its Central American successes directing terrorist proxy force attacks against "soft targets" including health centers, medical workers and schools, farms and more, all considered legitimate military targets despite international law banning these actions.

    Latin America is always crucial to US policy makers referring to it dismissively as "America's backyard" giving us more right to rule here than practically any place else. It's because of the region's strategic importance historian Greg Grandin recognizes calling it the "Empire's Workshop" that's the title of his 2006 book subtitled "Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism." In it, he shows how the region serves as a laboratory honing our techniques for imperial rule that worked in the 1980s but now face growing rebellion providing added incentive to people in the Middle East inspiring them to do by force what leaders like Hugo Chavez do constitutionally with great public support.

    But Washington's international terror network never quits or sleeps operating freely worldwide and touching down anywhere policy makers feel they need to play global enforcer seeing to it outliers remember who's boss, and no one forgets the rules of imperial management. Things went as planned for Reagan until the 1986 scandals necessitated a heavy dose of damage control. They've now become industrial strength trying to bail George Bush out his quagmire conflagrations making Reagan's troubles seem like minor brush fires. It worked for Reagan by following "overriding principles (keeping) crucial issues....off the agenda" applicable for George Bush, including:

    -- "the (ugly) historical and documentary record reveal(ing)" US policy guidelines;

    -- "the international setting within which policy develops;"

    -- application of similar policies in other nations in Latin America or elsewhere;

    -- "the normal conditions of life (in Latin America or elsewhere long dominated by) US influence and control (and) what these teach us about the goals and character of US government policy over many years;

    -- similar matters (anywhere helping explain) the origins and nature of the problems that must be addressed."

    It was true in the 1980s and now so these issues "are not fit topics for reporting, commentary and debate" beyond what policy makers disagree on and are willing to discuss openly.

    The book concludes considering the "perils of diplomacy" with Washington resorting to state terror enforcing its will through violence when other means don't work. But the US public has to be convinced through guile and stealth it's all being done for our own good. It never is, of course, but most people never catch on till it's too late to matter. They should read more Chomsky, Herman, Ahmad, and Michel Chossudovsky discussed below, but too few do so leaders like Reagan and Bush get away with mass-murder and much more.

    Chomsky wrote another book on terrorism titled "Pirates and Emperors, Old and New: International Terrorism in the Real World." It was first published in 1986 with new material added in more recent editions up to 2001. The book begins with a memorable story St. Augustine tells about a pirate Alexander the Great captured asking him "how he dares molest the sea." Pirates aren't known to be timid, and this one responds saying "How dare you molest the whole world? ....I do it with a little ship only (and) am called a thief (while you do) it with a great navy (and) are called an Emperor." It's a wonderful way to capture the relationship between minor rogue states or resistance movements matched off against the lord and master of the universe with unchallengeable military power unleashing it freely to stay dominant.

    The newest edition of "Pirates and Emperors, Old and New" explores what constitutes terrorism while mainly discussing how Washington waged it in the Middle East in the 1980s, also then in Central America, and more recently post-9/11. As he often does, Chomsky also shows how dominant media manipulation shapes public perceptions to justify our actions called defensible against states we target as enemies when they resist - meaning their wish to remain free and independent makes them a threat to western civilization.

    Washington never tolerates outlier regimes placing their sovereignty above ours or internal resistance movements hitting back for what we do to them. Those doing it are called terrorists and are targeted for removal by economic, political and/or military state terror. In the case of Nicaragua, the weapon of choice was a Contra proxy force, in El Salvador, the CIA-backed fascist government did the job, and in both cases tactics used involved mass murder and incarceration, torture, and a whole further menu of repressive and economic barbarism designed to crush resistance paving the way for unchallengeable US dominance.

    The centerpiece of US Middle East policy has been its full and unconditional support for Israel's quest for regional dominance by weakening or removing regimes considered hostile and its near-six decade offensive to repress and ethnically cleanse indigenous Palestinians from all land Israelis want for a greater Israel. Toward that end, Israel gets unheard of amounts of aid including billions annually in grants and loans, billions more as needed, multi-billions in debt waved, billions more in military aid, and state-of-the-art weapons and technology amounting in total to more than all other countries in the world combined for a nation of six million people with lots of important friends in Washington, on Wall Street, and in all other centers of power that count.

    It all goes down smoothly at home by portraying justifiable resistance to Israeli abuse as terrorism with the dominant media playing their usual role calling US and Israeli-targeted victims the victimizers to justify the harshest state terror crackdowns against them. For Palestinians, it's meant nearly six decades of repression and 40 years of occupation by a foreign power able to reign state terror on defenseless people helpless against it. For Iraq, it meant removing a leader posing no threat to Israel or his neighbors but portrayed as a monster who did with Iranian leaders and Hugo Chavez now topping the regime change queue in that order or maybe in quick succession or tandem.

    It's all about power and perception with corrupted language, as Orwell explained, able to make reality seem the way those controlling it wish. It lets power and ideology triumph over people freely using state terror as a means of social control. Chomsky quoted Churchill's notion that "the rich and powerful have every right to....enjoy what they have gained, often by violence and terror; the rest can be ignored as long as they suffer in silence, but if they interfere with....those who rule the world by right, the 'terrors of the earth' will be visited upon them with righteous wrath, unless power is constrained from within." One day, the meek may inherit the earth and Churchill's words no longer will apply, but not as long as the US rules it and media manipulation clouds reality enough to make harsh state terror look like humanitarian intervention or self-defense by helpless victims look like they're the victimizers.


    Michel Chossudovsky on "The War on Terrorism"

    No one has been more prominent or outspoken since the 9/11 attacks in the US than scholar/author/activist and Global Research web site editor Michel Chossudovsky. He began writing that evening publishing an article the next day titled "Who Is Osama Bin Laden," perhaps being the first Bush administration critic to courageously challenge the official account of what took place that day. He then updated his earlier account September 10, 2006 in an article titled "The Truth behind 9/11: Who is Osama Bin Ladin." Chossudovsky is a thorough, relentless researcher making an extraordinary effort to get at the truth no matter how ugly or disturbing.

    Here's a summary of what he wrote that was included in his 2005 book titled "America's War on Terrorism (In the Wake of 9/11)" he calls a complete fabrication "based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden (from a cave in Afghanistan and hospital bed in Pakistan), outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus." He called it instead what it is, in fact - a pretext for permanent "New World Order" wars of conquest serving the interests of Wall Street, the US military-industrial complex, and all other corporate interests profiting hugely from a massive scheme harming the public interest in the near-term and potentially all humanity unless it's stopped in time.

    On the morning of 9/11, the Bush administration didn't miss a beat telling the world Al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center (WTC) and Pentagon meaning Osama bin Laden was the main culprit - case closed without even the benefit of a forensic and intelligence analysis piecing together all potential helpful information. There was no need to because, as Chossudovsky explained, "That same (9/11) evening at 9:30 pm, a 'War Cabinet' was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. At 11:00PM, at the end of that historic (White House) meeting, the 'War on Terrorism' was officially launched," and the rest is history.

    Chossudovsky continued "The decision was announced (straightaway) to wage war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in retribution for the 9/11 attacks" with news headlines the next day asserting, with certainty, "state sponsorship" responsibility for the attacks connected to them. The dominant media, in lockstep, called for military retaliation against Afghanistan even though no evidence proved the Taliban government responsible, because, in fact, it was not and we knew it.

    Four weeks later on October 7, a long-planned war of illegal aggression began, Afghanistan was bombed and then invaded by US forces working in partnership with their new allies - the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan or so-called Northern Alliance "warlords." Their earlier repressive rule was so extreme, it gave rise to the Taliban in the first place and has now made them resurgent.

    Chossudovsky further explained that the public doesn't "realize that a large scale theater war is never planned and executed in a matter of weeks." This one, like all others, was months in the making needing only what CentCom Commander General Tommy Franks called a "terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event" to arouse enough public anger for the Bush administration to launch it after declaring their "war on terrorism." Chossudovsky, through thorough and exhausting research, exposed it as a fraud.

    He's been on top of the story ever since uncovering the "myth of an 'outside enemy' and the threat of 'Islamic terrorists' (that became) the cornerstone (and core justification) of the Bush administration's military doctrine." It allowed Washington to wage permanent aggressive wars beginning with Afghanistan and Iraq, to ignore international law, and to "repeal civil liberties and constitutional government" through repression laws like the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts. A key objective throughout has, and continues to be, Washington's quest to control the world's energy supplies, primarily oil, starting in the Middle East where two-thirds of known reserves are located.

    Toward that end, the Bush administration created a fictitious "outside enemy" threat without which no "war on terrorism" could exist, and no foreign wars could be waged. Chossudovsky exposed the linchpin of the whole scheme. He uncovered evidence that Al Queda "was a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet-Afghan war" era, and that in the 1990s Washington "consciously supported Osama bin Laden, while at the same time placing him on the FBI's 'most wanted list' as the World's foremost terrorist." He explained that the CIA (since the 1980s and earlier) actively supports international terrorism covertly, and that on September 10, 2001 "Enemy Number One" bin Laden was in a Rawalpindi, Pakistan military hospital confirmed on CBS News by Dan Rather. He easily could have been arrested but wasn't because we had a "better purpose" in mind for "America's best known fugitive (to) give a (public) face to the 'war on terrorism' " that meant keeping bin Laden free to do it. If he didn't exist, we'd have had to invent him, but that could have been arranged as well.

    The Bush administration's national security doctrine needs enemies, the way all empires on the march do. Today "Enemy Number One" rests on the fiction of bin Laden-led Islamic terrorists threatening the survival of western civilization. In fact, however, Washington uses Islamic organizations like Islamic jihad as a "key instrument of US military-intelligence operations in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union" while, at the same time, blaming them for the 9/11 attacks calling them "a threat to America."

    September 11, 2001 was, indeed, a threat to America, but one coming from within from real enemies. They want to undermine democracy and our freedoms, not preserve them, in pursuit of their own imperial interests for world domination by force through endless foreign wars and establishment of a locked down national "Homeland Security (police) State." They're well along toward it, and if they succeed, America, as we envision it, no longer will exist. Only by exposing the truth and resisting what's planned and already happening will there be any hope once again to make this nation a "land of the free and home of the brave" with "a new birth of freedom" run by a "government of the people, by the people, for the people" the way at least one former president thought it should be.

    Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

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    Government for Hire
    Lebanon, Bush and the Three Stooges

    By RANNIE AMIRI

    As the siege of the Nahr al-Barad refugee camp in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli enters its third week, the last piece of this strange puzzle has finally been put in place. For completing the jigsaw of Tripoli, we have no less than the Bush administration itself to thank, along with the three stooges of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

    It was a real mystery initially. The Salafis of Fatah al-Islam were first brought into Lebanon (or released from their prisons) under the auspices of the Siniora government and the money of Saad Hariri. This has been well-documented by Seymour Hersh and does not need repeating here. Hariri the hypocrite, who would probably blame the Syrians if his tea was served too hot, did not miss the opportunity to do likewise over the standoff between the Lebanese army and the foreign fighters of Fatah al-Islam.

    So if the well-armed extremists were invited into Lebanon by Siniora and Hariri Inc., why now turn against them? If they were to do their bidding against Hezbollah (their real nemesis; presciently calling on the government to resign for the past several months) what led to the current conflict?

    It was by no coincidence that shortly after hostilities began with the unwelcome guests, the United States and their Arab allies did not hesitate an instant to either send or pledge sophisticated weaponry and arms to the Lebanese government in order to combat "al-Qaeda's" presence there.

    We should remember that none of these countries lifted a finger to stop the Israeli onslaught of Lebanon last summer by even appealing to the United States to call for a ceasefire. They too wanted Hezbollah destroyed.

    So what Israel could not accomplish last year will now be done from within.

    In both Lebanon and Iraq, the solution is to foment division among the people in order to ignite a civil war. It is already well under way in Iraq. And if Israel was unable neutralize Hezbollah prior to a US strike against Iran, it appears an attempt to create a similar climate is taking place in Lebanon.

    When was the Siniora government co-opted in this endeavor? Probably sometime last year, after Siniora was seen crying on TV over the war but before shamelessly hugging Condoleezza Rice during it.

    Having Fatah al-Islam and similar groups in Lebanon are a double bonus for Siniora and company: a radical Sunni presence to agitate against Hezbollah, while the government, under the guise of combating this new threat, acquires more weapons which they can then use to do their domestic dirty work.

    The Lebanese, however, are not so naïve as to fall into a trap they have been in before. Nor is Hezbollah likely to be provoked into taking up arms against their fellow countrymen. That is a chance the United States, Israel and the Arab dictatorships are willing to take though, in order to neutralize the Lebanese front prior to taking on Iran.

    Fouad Siniora, Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblatt, in this most ugly game, have indeed proven the Lebanese government to be one for hire.

    Rannie Amiri is an independent commentator on the Arab and Islamic worlds. He may be reached at rbamiri@yahoo.com.

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    "Collateral Damage" of the Innocent Civilians

    The footage was leaked by Chelsea Manning and is from the Iraq war.

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/CageUK/vide...3628383983995/


    The Afghan Files

    Hundreds of pages of secret Defence Force documents leaked to the ABC give an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia's elite special forces in Afghanistan:
    http://ab.co/2u62qDQ

    Video: https://www.facebook.com/abcnews.au/...c_ref=NEWSFEED

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    Amnesty International accuses Australia of ‘war crimes’ in fight against Islamic State

    Jul 12

    Australia has committed war crimes in Iraq as the second-largest contributor to the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, according to an Amnesty International report.

    While Iraq and the United States have claimed victory over IS in Mosul, thousands of bodies still lie in the pulverised ruins.

    Almost one million people have fled. The Iraqi Army has lost up to 40 per cent of its attack force. Estimates of the number of civilians killed range over 13,000. The exact number will never be known.

    Amnesty International spokesperson Diana Sayed told The New Daily the 225kg bombs dropped into the crowded streets of Mosul had a shock radius of 230 metres and resulted in needless casualties.

    “Pro-government forces, including Australia, failed to take feasible precautions to protect civilians during the battle for west Mosul – through launching barrages of indiscriminate, disproportionate and otherwise unlawful attacks, and failing to provide adequate warnings prior to bombardments. The realities of living under the Islamic State often meant people were trapped and unable to leave their homes,” she said.

    “Australia and its allies in Iraq should publicly acknowledge the massive loss of lives during the Mosul operation.”


    The report, titled ‘At Any Cost: The Civilian Catastrophe in West Mosul, Iraq’, said Iraqi and US forces did not meet humanitarian law requirements.

    “Iraqi government and US-led coalition forces failed to adequately adapt their tactics to these challenges – as required by international humanitarian law – with disastrous consequences for civilians. Pro-government forces relied heavily upon explosive weapons with wide area effects. These weapons wreaked havoc in densely populated west Mosul, where large groups of civilians were trapped.”

    If military planners were unaware of the likely civilian toll, it quickly became evident.

    “It was pro-government soldiers who assisted in countless front-line rescues, digging bodies out of collapsed buildings, separating the injured from the dead and arranging the transport of thousands to medical facilities,” the report said.

    High Commissioner for the United Nations Human Rights Office, Zeid Al Hussein, said he urged the coalition to comply with humanitarian laws.

    “I repeatedly called on coalition partners to ensure that military operations complied with international humanitarian law,” he said in a statement this week.

    “Airstrikes were a significant factor in causing civilian casualties.”

    The Amnesty International report came in the days after Human Rights Watch argued there had been major breaches of international law in its ‘Civilian Casualties Mount in West Mosul: Coalition’ report.

    The group has also reported on mass graves in government-controlled areas, indicating war crimes.

    A spokeswoman for the group Belkis Wille told The New Daily: “All of the families I speak to have a story about neighbours, loved ones or friends being killed in airstrikes. The people coming out of west Mosul are the most traumatised I have ever interviewed.”

    Experts warn that Islamic State, far from being defeated, have created a major jihad spectacle which will drive recruitment.

    Security expert Professor Clinton Fernandes told The New Daily: “While the public is generally unaware of most US military operations, since the media has largely been scrubbed clean of this kind of coverage, radical groups rely on satellite TV and the internet to get a different message out.”

    Terror expert Dr Clarke Jones told The New Daily the deaths of so many civilians could drive extremism.

    “Here is another case where the West has stepped in and caused the death of innocents. There are a lot of angry people. They see this injustice and want to take action,” he said.

    Defence Minister Marise Payne was unavailable for comment.

    http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/world...ic-state-iraq/

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    Rogue SAS unit accused of executing civilians in Afghanistan

    July 2, 2017

    The Sunday Times alleges rogue SAS soldiers conducted what amounts to assassinations in Helmand Province. I’m not in the least surprised.

    One of their reporters, George Arbuthnott has informed me that an incident I wrote about in SPIN ZHIRA corroborates some of their own findings with regards to one such alleged assassination in 2012. This took place in Rahim Kalay, a small, poppy dependent rural community east of Gereshk where the British had established a patrol base.


    At the time the village was on the front line of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) counter-insurgency, making it a very dangerous and violent place to live. Abandoned by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan shortly after the British withdrawal from Helmand in 2014, it now falls under Taliban shadow governance. Ironically, this makes it a much safer and less violent place to live.


    The Sunday Times investigation has revealed that the Ministry of Defence are using the closure of the bogus Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) ​as an opportunity to​ shut down a completely separate Royal Military Police (RMP) investigation into ​the conduct of SAS kill/capture missions.


    The IHAT enquiry squandered taxpayers’ money and amounted to a betrayal of British servicemen and women by the ministry responsible for safeguarding them. Based on my own experiences in Rahim, I believe the RMP investigation is warranted and should be allowed to proceed. Former Army Captain and MP for Plymouth Moor View, Johnny Mercer, agrees “We must be very clear that unlawful behaviour is not acceptable. I hope that my efforts to protect our servicemen and women from spurious claims have not been used as cover to legitimise unprofessional behaviour on operations.”


    Even in war, soldiers are not above the law and it seemed to me that, all too often in Afghanistan, Special Forces were not subject to the oversight of the military chain of command or the law of armed conflict.


    My account of the incident is reproduced below:


    “It was an extraordinary tale but not an improbable one. Night raids were commonplace in Afghanistan and Haji was not the first person, nor would he be the last, to receive a visitation from Special Operations Forces in the middle of the night. As with everything in the secretive world of SOF it was difficult to know precise details. But a US military source told researchers for the Open Society Foundation in April 2011 that as many as 40 raids were being carried out every night. Jon Nagel, a former member of Petreus’ staff described them as “an industrial strength counter-terrorism killing machine”.



    This sounded most impressive but Mr Nagel appeared to be fighting the wrong war. We were supposed to be conducting a counter-insurgency, not a counter-terrorism campaign. Perhaps I was splitting hairs but Mr Nagel really should have known the difference because his own boss had re-written the counter-insurgency manual to great acclaim and fanfare.



    In it Petreus had mandated: “Legitimacy is the Main Objective.” Impressed, no doubt, by British military doctrine writers’ ability to use a dozen words where half that number would have sufficed he went on to state:



    “The best counter‑insurgency campaigns integrate and synchronise political, security, economic, and informational components that reinforce governmental legitimacy and effectiveness while reducing insurgent influence over the population. COIN strategies should be designed to simultaneously protect the population from insurgent violence; strengthen the legitimacy and capacity of government institutions to govern responsibly and marginalise insurgents politically, socially, and economically.”
    There was no mention of an industrial strength killing machine in any of the manual’s 242 pages.



    Unsurprisingly night raids singularly failed to reduce insurgent influence over the population or to demonstrate the legitimacy of our cause. In fact there was plenty to suggest that they were having the directly opposite effect.



    Towards the end of our tour a night raid in Rahim, conducted by a joint TF196 and Afghan Special Forces team, resulted in three brothers being gunned down in their compound in front of their wives and children.



    Again I found myself in conflict with British Tier One Special Forces. TF196 insisted the men were insurgents, but this claim seemed highly improbable to me. The brothers’ compound was just a short distance from one of our patrol bases and any suspicious activity would almost certainly have come to our attention. Our own J2 Shop had nothing on the men. The general consensus from our analysts was that the SAS, while ruthlessly efficient as always, had directed their special talents against the wrong targets.



    When I challenged a TF196 spokesman on their version of events he played their top secret joker once more. Speaking to me by phone from an undisclosed location he said the information was classified. As a known Taliban‑loving apologist and mere part‑time soldier I could not be trusted and had no authority to contradict elite tier one special forces. A short while later I received another telephone call from the charming colonel in Task Force Helmand ordering me to drop my line of enquiry. Although he remained amiable I detected a hardening in his tone.



    The TFH top brass had silenced me, but the Rahim spin zhiras remained determinedly voluble on the subject. They steadfastly maintained the brothers’ innocence and were outraged at the brutal executions in front of the victims’ families. Emissaries were despatched to the patrol base threatening retaliation and demanding an apology and blood money for the relatives. The PB Commander was bitterly angry that the raid had gone ahead without his knowledge, destroying the work his own men had done over the previous six months to marginalise the Taliban and protect the population from insurgent violence.



    Shortly after we completed our tour the Rahim patrol base was abandoned and Afghan National Security Forces ceded control of the area to the Taliban. Perhaps these events were not linked to the slaying of the supposed insurgents but, given the long memories of our Afghan hosts, this seemed unlikely to me. Our actions had done nothing to strengthen the legitimacy of the GIRoA government as the Petreus COIN Field Manual had directed.’

    https://spinzhira.com/2017/07/02/rog...n-afghanistan/

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    All terror laws must go: Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism legislation recognises incompatibility of terror laws with the rule of law


    Posted by CAGE on

    Max Hill QC stated in the Independent yesterday that terror laws should be scrapped and there should not be any prosecutions for ‘thought crimes’.
    Dr Adnan Siddiqui, CAGE Director said:

    “Max Hill is right to call for the end to all terror laws in this country. The Independent Reviewers comments come as a welcome break from a norm that has allowed this politicised corpus of law to continue to expand. The criminal justice system is adequate without entrenching Emergency laws that were intended only to be a temporary measure. A ‘state of exception’ has instead led to the normalisation of emergency powers over 17 years through 14 separate pieces of legislation.”



    “CAGE reiterates its June announcement: We call for an abolition of the extensive web of laws that have ensnared our fundamental freedoms and rights. We call upon all right minded people to join our struggle to establish once again the Rule of Law and apply it to all irrespective of their background, race or religion.”

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/all-t...e-rule-of-law/

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    TRUMP HAS ALREADY KILLED MORE CIVILIANS THAN OBAMA IN U.S. FIGHT AGAINST ISIS

    BY TOM O'CONNOR ON 8/22/17

    The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) has killed more civilians during President Donald Trump's first seven months in office than in the three years it existed under his predecessor, according to the latest estimate by a U.K.-based monitor.

    Airwars, which describes itself as a "journalist-led transparency project," released Tuesday its latest data on airstrikes reportedly conducted by the U.S. and its allies battling ISIS and other jihadists in Iraq and Syria. According to data gathered since the coalition's inception in October 2014, the U.S.-dominated multinational force has been responsible for a minimum of 5,117 civilian deaths, with about 55 percent of them occurring during Trump's administration. While the stage of the conflict inherited by the Republican leader has largely involved targeting ISIS's urban strongholds after allied gains elsewhere under former President Barack Obama, Trump has faced backlash at home and abroad over reports of mounting collateral damage.

    "During @BarackObama's 29 months at helm of ISIS war we tracked 855 alleged civilian casualty events which likely killed 2298-3398 civilians," Airwars tweeted to the group's official account.

    "In @realDonaldTrump's first 7 months as President, we tracked 1,196 alleged incidents in which we assess at least 2,819-4,529 civilians died," it added.

    The U.S. began conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in October 2014 as part of what came to be known as the Joint Combined Task Force–Operation Inherent Resolve. The campaign was created in response to lightning gains made across Iraq and Syria by ISIS, a notoriously brutal and powerful offshoot of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The ultraconservative Sunni Muslim group managed to overpower local forces and expanded its self-proclaimed caliphate across nearly half of the two countries.

    The group's lines of defense began to collapse in Iraq as it was targeted by the country's armed forces, Kurdish militias, majority-Shiite Muslim militias backed by Iran and U.S.-led airstrikes. In Syria, U.S. airstrikes assisted the local Kurdish forces and some Arab insurgent groups in taking on the jihadists, while a 2015 Russian intervention allowed Syria's embattled military and its allies, including Iran-backed militias, to retake large parts of the country lost to ISIS and other anti-government groups in the wake of a 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Assad have also been criticized for reports of high civilian casualties incurred by their joint air campaigns.

    When Trump came into office in January, U.S. forces had already begun major offensives to help local allies dislodge ISIS from two of its most important cities. Since then, the Iraqi government has declared ISIS defeated in Mosul, by far the largest city to fall into the jihadists' hands, and the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mostly Kurdish alliance of Arabs and ethnic minorities, has beaten ISIS in about half of its de facto capital of Raqqa. As the two campaigns became increasingly urban, civilian casualties increased substantially. In last month's report, Airwars said that about 80 civilians were killed per month under Obama and that that figure had risen to 360 under Trump by July.

    INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR/REUTERS

    Other monitoring groups have also criticized the increasingly deadly consequences of the U.S.-led intervention against ISIS. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based group with ties to the exiled Syrian opposition, said Monday that coalition airstrikes had escalated in the past week, killing 167 people, with at least 42 dead reported from a single airstrike that day.

    "Such massacres only add to the deteriorating humanitarian situation of civilians in ISIS-controlled areas in Raqqa city, where death became inevitable awaiting even those who try to flee along with their families to areas far from the doomed city," the group wrote.

    http://www.newsweek.com/trump-has-al...st-isis-653564

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    From Myanmar to Aleppo, the ‘War on Terror’ has become a convenient excuse for genocide

    Posted by CAGE on December 16, 2016

    In a video from within besieged Aleppo, US journalist Bilal Abdul Karim said “don’t you dare fall for anybody who is telling you that what is happening here in Aleppo is that they are fighting terrorists and terrorism”. He reiterated the call on Tuesday night as he spoke live from Aleppo to a crowd of at least a thousand protesters in London. His call has highlighted a worrying trend, whereby genocide is justified under the banner of the War on Terror. The broad scope of terrorism legislation has provided governments with a carte blanche to weaponise the War on Terror against their own people.

    In Myanmar, the government has attempted to exploit the rhetoric of the War on Terror to garner international support for their heinous operations against the Rohingya. The Rohingya community has been denied citizenship, stripped of their homes, and brutally raped, tortured and killed in what Human Rights Watch has declared as “ethnic cleansing” by the Buddhist nationalist-influenced security forces of the government. The Burmese leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been complicit in the suffering of the Rohingya through her willful silence. Suu Kyi has even attempted to play down the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and during an interview with the BBC’s Mishal Husain she said “No one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim”.

    The suffering of the Rohingya extends beyond the modern political context, however, in its efforts to polish its image, the Myanmar government has co-opted the manifesto of the War on Terror, to continue its acts of barbarity against the Rohingya.

    US builds ties with Burmese government and military

    In May this year, US officials announced they would be gradually re-engaging with the country’s military, “with the aim of broadening cooperation” including ‘counter-terrorism’. However when pressed on the Rohingya issue, Deputy Secretary of State Patrick Murphy, said it was “problematic”. “It’s a lot to ask of a new government,” he said apologetically, of the need to solve what is a catastrophic human problem.

    Recently in a low key email, Obama announced the lifting of sanctions against Myanmar, saying, unbelievably, that the government there had made “substantial progress in improving human rights”.

    A western precedent


    Such responses in the face of impending genocide are unlikely to change under the Islamophobic administration of Donald Trump. In fact, it is likely that Burma, in its institutional racism and state sponsored hate and genocide against a persecuted minority, will enjoy even more open support, while those drawing attention to the plight of the Rohingya may be cast as “extremist” or “terrorist sympathisers”.

    Killing in the name of counter-terrorism such as that which is occurring in Myanmar and Aleppo, is a stark warning that the abuses sanctioned by western nations under the War on Terror have set dangerous precedents and have enabled some of the world’s’ most reprehensible regimes to commit genocide with impunity.

    https://cage.ngo/article/from-myanma...-for-genocide/

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    Revealed: Pentagon's link to Iraqi torture centres

    General David Petraeus and 'dirty wars' veteran behind commando units implicated in detainee abuse


    by Mona Mahmood, Maggie O'Kane, Chavala Madlena and Teresa Smith - 7 March 2013

    The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country's descent into full-scale civil war.

    Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.

    After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades.

    A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.

    Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.

    The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, implicate US advisers for the first time in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse.

    Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus's "eyes and ears out on the ground" in Iraq.

    "They worked hand in hand," said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. "I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture."

    Additional Guardian reporting has confirmed more details of how the interrogation system worked. "Every single detention centre would have its own interrogation committee," claimed Samari, talking for the first time in detail about the US role in the interrogation units.

    "Each one was made up of an intelligence officer and eight interrogators. This committee will use all means of torture to make the detainee confess like using electricity or hanging him upside down, pulling out their nails, and beating them on sensitive parts."

    There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman tortured prisoners themselves, only that they were sometimes present in the detention centres where torture took place and were involved in the processing of thousands of detainees.

    The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified US military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to leaking the documents.

    Samari claimed that torture was routine in the SPC-controlled detention centres. "I remember a 14-year-old who was tied to one of the library's columns. And he was tied up, with his legs above his head. Tied up. His whole body was blue because of the impact of the cables with which he had been beaten."

    Gilles Peress, a photographer, came across Steele when he was on assignment for the New York Times, visiting one of the commando centres in the same library, in Samarra. "We were in a room in the library interviewing Steele and I'm looking around I see blood everywhere."

    The reporter Peter Maass was also there, working on the story with Peress. "And while this interview was going on with a Saudi jihadi with Jim Steele also in the room, there were these terrible screams, somebody shouting: 'Allah, Allah, Allah!' But it wasn't kind of religious ecstasy or something like that, these were screams of pain and terror."

    The pattern in Iraq provides an eerie parallel to the well-documented human rights abuses committed by US-advised and funded paramilitary squads in Central America in the 1980s. Steele was head of a US team of special military advisers that trained units of El Salvador's security forces in counterinsurgency. Petraeus visited El Salvador in 1986 while Steele was there and became a major advocate of counterinsurgency methods.

    Steele has not responded to any questions from the Guardian and BBC Arabic about his role in El Salvador or Iraq. He has in the past denied any involvement in torture and said publicly he is "opposed to human rights abuses." Coffman declined to comment.

    An official speaking for Petraeus said: "During the course of his years in Iraq, General Petraeus did learn of allegations of Iraqi forces torturing detainees. In each incident, he shared information immediately with the US military chain of command, the US ambassador in Baghdad ... and the relevant Iraqi leaders."

    The Guardian has learned that the SPC units' involvement with torture entered the popular consciousness in Iraq when some of their victims were paraded in front of a TV audience on a programme called "Terrorism In The Hands of Justice."

    SPC detention centres bought video cameras, funded by the US military, which they used to film detainees for the show. When the show began to outrage the Iraqi public, Samari remembers being in the home of General Adnan Thabit – head of the special commandos – when a call came from Petraeus's office demanding that they stop showing tortured men on TV.

    "General Petraeus's special translator, Sadi Othman, rang up to pass on a message from General Petraeus telling us not to show the prisoners on TV after they had been tortured," said Samari. "Then 20 minutes later we got a call from the Iraqi ministry of interior telling us the same thing, that General Petraeus didn't want the torture victims shown on TV."

    Othman, who now lives in New York, confirmed that he made the phone call on behalf of Petraeus to the head of the SPC to ask him to stop showing the tortured prisoners. "But General Petraeus does not agree with torture," he added. "To suggest he does support torture is horseshit."

    Thabit is dismissive of the idea that the Americans he dealt with were unaware of what the commandos were doing. "Until I left, the Americans knew about everything I did; they knew what was going on in the interrogations and they knew the detainees. Even some of the intelligence about the detainees came to us from them – they are lying."

    Just before Petraeus and Steele left Iraq in September 2005, Jabr al-Solagh was appointed as the new minister of the interior. Under Solagh, who was closely associated with the violent Badr Brigades militia, allegations of torture and brutality by the commandos soared. It was also widely believed that the units had evolved into death squads.

    The Guardian has learned that high-ranking Iraqis who worked with the US after the invasion warned Petraeus of the consequences of appointing Solagh but their pleas were ignored.

    The long-term impact of funding and arming this paramilitary force was to unleash a deadly sectarian militia that terrorised the Sunni community and helped germinate a civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the height of that sectarian conflict, 3,000 bodies a month were strewn on the streets of Iraq.


    CV: James Steele


    Vietnam

    Jim Steele's first experience of war was in Vietnam, where from 1965 to 1975 US combat units were deployed against the communist North Vietnamese government and Viet Cong. 58,000 Americans were killed, dealing a blow to the nation's self-esteem and leading to a change in military thinking for subsequent conflicts.

    El Salvador

    A 1979 military coup plunged the smallest country in Central America into civil war and drew in US training and funding on the side of the rightwing government. From 1984 to 1986 Steele – a "counterinsurgency specialist" – was head of the US MilGroup of US special forces advisers to frontline battalions of the Salvadorean military, which developed a fearsome international reputation for its death-squad activities. Prof Terry Karl, an expert at Stanford University on El Salvador's civil war, said that Steele's main aim was to shift the fight from so-called total war, which then meant the indiscriminate murder of thousands of civilians, to a more "discriminate" approach. One of his tasks was to put more emphasis on "human intelligence" and interrogation.

    Nicaragua

    He became involved in the Iran-Contra affair, which saw the proceeds from covert arms sales by senior US officials to Iran used to fund the Contras, rightwing guerrillas fighting Daniel Ortega's leftwing Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Steele ran operations at El Salvador's Ilopango airport, from where Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North illegally ran weapons and supplies to the Contras.

    Iraq

    Soon after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, now retired Colonel James Steele was in Baghdad as one of the White House's most important agents, sending back reports to Donald Rumsfeld and acting as the US defence secretary's personal envoy to Iraq's Special Police Commandos, whose intelligence-gathering activities he oversaw. Drawn mostly from violent Shia militia, the commandos developed a reputation for torture and later for their death-squad activities directed against the Sunni community.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013...e-centres-link

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    The 'war on terror' has won


    George Bush's brand of "war on terror" has spread internationally as a favourite tool to cover up of war crimes.


    There's a playbook for committing atrocities and being absolved of them. It wasn't written by George W Bush, now a retired painter of dogs in the US state of Texas, but it was popularised and legitimised by his administration at the dawn of the 21st century. And the world today, with its multiple bloody wars on terror fought by allies and foes of Washington alike, sometimes begrudgingly together, reflects this bequeathment.


    Terrorism is a useful foe. Wars against it need not be declared, and combatants need not be defined. Traditional warfare, with a uniformed opponent, brings with it the not always avoidable bureaucracy of international law; lawyers saying you can't shoot this or that. No conflict is outside the law, at least on paper. However, an amorphous tactic can't file a petition at The Hague, and when every power of note is on the same page with respect to the need to kill shadowy non-state actors, extrajudicially, it's smart statecraft to adopt the rubric of the war on terror, with modern flourishes.


    "Fake news". That's the new line in 2017, deployed by Nobel laureate and leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi on September 6 to characterise reports of mass murder against the Rohingya people, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority considered unworthy of legal rights by her government. Nearly a quarter-million people have fled largely Buddhist Myanmar in the last year, over half in the last two weeks following a crackdown by security forces engaged in a claimed war against Islamic terror.


    Thousands have been killed, with refugees and journalists on the ground reporting horrific scenes: mobs and Myanmar's armed forces burning down Rohingya villages, those who aren't killed driven away by the tens of thousands to Bangladesh, another country whose government doesn't want them, and only then if they can get by the landmines placed along the border by the military that's exterminating them.


    These accounts are widespread, but those who wish to defend the perpetrators of such acts are savvy: they don't defend them, but rather dwell on the typos they find in a war crimes indictment. That means reserving the thrust of one's anger for those who circulate misinformation, a problem during any conflict - apologists for the Khmer Rouge, some still active today, indicted the mainstream narrative about mass death in revolutionary Cambodia by noting The Washington Post's publication of fake photos - but one made all the easier in an unverifiable age of instantaneity.
    Aung San Suu Kyi blamed "terrorists" for sharing those photos today. It's "simply the tip of the iceberg of misinformation," she said in a Facebook post, "with the aim of promoting the interests of terrorists," an unsurprising goal for misinforming terrorists. The dull math of a war on a terror (them vs us = whose side are you on?) does not allow for much artistic freelancing, so redundancy may be excused.


    Russian state media, representing a government that sells arms to Myanmar, appears to just be repeating stock footage. According to Sputnik and RT, George Soros, the billionaire financier, is the wealthy Jew behind this new war, apparently in search of another bloody pipeline - mirroring the conspiratorial explanation for revolution-turned-war in Syria. On Global Research, a pro-Russia Infowars for a conspiracy-mongering left, one may read that "Saudi jihadists" are behind the crisis.


    Bush, likewise, blamed everything but his own actions for the insurgency in Iraq. "No act of ours invited the rage of the killers," he told the National Endowment for Democracy in 2005. Rather, "Islamic radicalism," he said during the height of attacks on US troops, is enabled by "allies of convenience like Syria and Iran that share the goal of hurting America," and "use terrorist propaganda" to magnify the impact of their support.


    In that, Bush wasn't all wrong: Syria did indeed facilitate the transit of jihadists to Iraq. That led the Bush administration to send terror suspects to Damascus, where they were dutifully tortured, even as the US president admonished the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Iran, too, aided Iraqi insurgents, but neither government created the insurgency: the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation did that. Now, today, both Tehran and Damascus echo the war on terror rhetoric of old, blaming the insurgency in Syria on outside actors - in the case of Iran, actors other than themselves - while denying any agency or cause to those fighting them.


    Part of it is there are only so many forms that apologism for war crimes can take; the practice necessitates imitation and repetition. A cartoon that originates in Israel, depicting an Israeli soldier protecting a mother while an armed Palestinian hides behind one, has been repurposed by those who preach resistance to Israeli aggression, shared by partisans of Syria's Assad as well as Egypt's Sisi, both of whom are waging self-styled wars on terror in need of excuses for civilian deaths. On Twitter, where hearts and minds are now won, a similar cartoon has been rolled out by supporters of Myanmar's genocidal military.


    These supporters are echoing governments whose intent is not just to justify, to their own choir, but to attract new and more powerful support - from other states. Assad, for example, has made resistance to US imperialism key to his brand, blaming it for the insurgency that developed after he tried to bomb and torture his way out of reform. But asked about his own support for the "so-called American war on terrorism" under Bush, when "Syria used to help the CIA in the rendition programme and interrogating and torturing people," he didn't even challenge the terminology.
    Syria, he said, has long called for "international cooperation to fight terrorism," he said. "That's why we've always been ready to help and cooperate with any country that wants to fight terrorism. And for that reason, we helped the Americans, and we are always ready to join any country which is sincere about fighting terrorism."


    There's always a fight over what constitutes terrorism and who is a terrorist, but by framing their internal conflicts as a war on terror, one makes a familiar appeal to a built-in audience. Mentioning "Islamists" and its variants triggers a Pavlovian alt-morality: the mass murder happens in the context of a recognisable, civilisational struggle, enabling greater acceptance of casualty counts while increasing the chance of killing, cooperatively, alongside the globe's leading powers. When the US government finally made good on a threat to bomb Syria, those bombs fell on just about everyone but the regime and its allies, friendly fire and a bruised runway aside.


    As US President Donald Trump, asked about the Assad regime's repeated use of chemical weapons, explained at a September 7 press conference, "We have very little to do with Syria, other than killing ISIS." While the regime is responsible for the majority of civilian dead, "What we do is kill ISIS," which, of course, means killing more civilians still.


    A war on extremism can't be won on propaganda and military might alone - an insurgency, defeated, is often resurrected, more extremely, when the grievances it exploits aren't remedied. But the war on terror logic and rhetoric spreads with the imprimatur of the US and its official enemies, confusing those whose politics are based on reflexive and binary opposition to one or the other. It spreads in part because states that commit acts of state terrorism can exploit an international system which values the sovereign right of states to terrorise much more than people and their rights.


    Every terroriser with a seat at the UN has learned the tune, and the wars keep humming along. Bush's regime change in Iraq gave rise to the forces and political dynamics that would make stability and a regime's preservation the overriding concern of left, right and centre. As hundreds of thousands of dead civilians and thousands more living through war crimes can attest, from Yemen to Syria and Iraq to Myanmar, the "war on terror" has won.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opi...082005701.html

  11. #11
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    This Is Why The Iraqis Hate Us

    Another beating snuff video shames coalition of the killing, You Tube censors it

    Paul Joseph Watson - November 17, 2006

    British troops punch, beat and kick pleading Iraqi children as a sadistic comrade films
    the brutal scenes of torture, laughing, screaming, growling and frothing like a serial killer filming a snuff movie.

    This is why the Iraqis hate us.

    Iraqi children throw rocks as they flee from running British troops, are grabbed, brought inside a gate and beaten half to death. Watch the video below. The censorship spies at You Tube rejected it 2 minutes after upload so I re-named it "Fluffy Happy Poodles In Heaven," to try and bypass their keyword filters and it was still rejected. I even renamed the actual 'wmv' filename but it was still blocked for "terms of use violation." I finally managed to get it posted on Google Video. If it disappears again, here's the Windows Media link on our server. November 19th: Google removed the video too! .

    "Oh yes! Oh Yes! You're gonna get it!" snarls the cameraman.

    "Yes! Naughty little boys."

    He laughs as they boys begin to scream out in pain, "Yes!"

    He then takes on the tone of a demented serial killer, grunting and growling, "Yeeeeeesss, yeeeeeessss," as troops punch and kick the children.

    He mocks the cries of the boys, "No please don't hurt me," laughs again and then proceeds to begin frothing in some kind of insane carnal bloodlust, "Motherfuckers, you little fuckers - die!"

    Adult Iraqis are brought in and similarly assaulted - the video ends.

    A probe of this video led to the arrest of the cameraman, Cpl Martin Webster, but after that the investigation seemingly went nowhere and was swept under the rug.

    Originally leaked in February this year, this is just the latest in a long line of "trophy videos" that expose the true face of what the troops have been trained and ordered to do in Iraq, dominate, brutalize and enslave the population - and it's why nearly 3,000 have come home in flag-draped coffins.

    This is why the Iraqis hate us.

    - A CNN clip from the early days of the "liberation" shows U.S. troops finishing off an injured Iraqi. The tape cuts to an interview with one of the soldiers who states, "Like, man, you guys are dead now, you know. But it was a good feeling. I mean, afterwards you're like, hell, yeah, that was awesome. Let's do it again."

    - In another clip the soldier exclaims, "Hell yeah bitches," as he audibly orgasms as the scene of carnage before him - a missile slamming into a nearby building. "I got all that **** on camera."

    - U.S. troops in a convoy drive vehicles down an Iraqi highway and bemoan the fact that they are not allowed to gun down children who throw rocks at them.

    - Bloodthirsty security guards and contractors hang out the back of trucks and randomly execute Iraqis driving in vehicles behind them.

    - An Iraqi taxi driver who stole some firewood gets his vehicle crushed by an Abrams tank as U.S. troops cheer and holler.

    These are just some of the videos that have been leaked onto the Internet. Now we know that the policy to abuse and torture innocent Iraqis just to show them who the bosses were was implicit, how many more of these kind of incidents have happened over the past three and a half years but not been videotaped by salivating zombies?

    This is why the Iraqis hate us.

    No one is suggesting that U.S. troops should roll over like a poodle if someone is shooting at them - they have every right to shoot back no matter what your view on the war is. The rubicon is crossed when petty thieves, children who throw rocks or completely innocent people are brutalized without recourse and the one thing that betrays the true nature of it all is the sadistic reaction of the protagonists who enjoy the torture, the beatings and the death.

    Most of these individuals were brought up on a steady diet of first person shoot-em-ups, and they have overlaid the mental perception that the video games taught them on how to treat death. Distanced and emotionless, the troops see random slaughter and torture as a stress reliever, a means of letting off some steam - and it's all sanctioned from the very top.

    This is why the Iraqis hate us.

    The assumption that Iraq is now liberated and that its people have suffered for the glorious opportunity of seeing democracy and freedom flourish throughout their country is the last thread the Neo-Cons are hanging onto as claims of weapons of mass destruction and Al-Qaeda ties evaporated long ago. Yet to claim Iraq is liberated is the most absurd of any of the justifications for going to war or "staying the course."

    Every cornerstone of what one would consider to be basic rights in a free society, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to fair judicial process, right to be secure from unlawful searches and seizures in one's home, have been abolished in Iraq. The occupation makes the regime of Saddam Hussein look like post-revolution America.

    This is why the Iraqis hate us.

    I guess the Iraqi children should feel lucky in that they got their retaliation in first by throwing rocks, many are simply arrested, hooded and taken to the torture camp for refusing to show ID at checkpoints. It's good to see that the authorities are not hypocrites and that the same kind of law enforcement techniques are practiced here at home, as Mostafa Tabatabainejad can attest to, the student was tortured for refusing to show his ID to UCLA police in a campus library.

    The fun will continue when the same kind of barbarous fiends who get orgasmic pleasure from watching children being tortured come back home and become our police.

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles...1106hateus.htm

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    US Coalition Admits Using Chemical Weapons Against Civilians in Iraq — Media Silent


    Earlier this month, multiple reports surfaced of US-led coalition forces in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, using the incendiary chemical weapon, white phosphorus, on civilians. For over a week, the US government and the coalition at large have remained silent on the issue — until now.

    In an error that will likely get him much backlash, in an interview with NPR, New Zealand Brig. Gen. Hugh McAslan, and member of the US-coalition has admitted — for the first time — to using white phosphorus during operations in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

    “We have utilized white phosphorous to screen areas within West Mosul to get civilians out safely,” McAslan told NPR on Tuesday.

    Instead of questioning the horrid nature of the chemical weapons use on civilians, NPR echoed the general’s sentiment and noted that 28,000 civilians have managed to escape. While that may be true, countless others were injured or suffered horrifying deaths.

    White phosphorus is described as an “incendiary and toxic chemical substance used as a filler in a number of different munitions that can be employed for a variety of military purposes.”

    The chemical was banned internationally after the 1980 Protocol on Incendiary Weapons restricted the “use of incendiary weapons as a means or method of warfare during armed conflict.”

    The use of chemical weapons is clearly prohibited in international armed conflicts. The International Committee of the Red Cross noted that “employing asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous liquids, materials or devices is listed in the Statute of the International Criminal Court as a war crime.”

    While deploying incendiary weapons against residential areas is banned under Protocol III of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), the two other uses — smoke screens and signals — are not, which allows the hypocritical US, to keep such munitions in their arsenal and use them. It is through this loophole that the US claims the right to deploy these deadly weapons on towns.

    On November 30, 2005, General Peter Pace stated that white phosphorus munitions were a “legitimate tool of the military” used to illuminate targets and create smokescreens, saying “It is not a chemical weapon. It is an incendiary.” However, the general is wrong. As soon as white phosphorus is deployed against people, it becomes a chemical weapon.

    A chemical weapon can be “any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm.”

    White phosphorus remains very dangerous even when not deliberately used to start fires or attack humans. Submunitions can ignite days after deployment and remain a hazard for a city. Injuries caused by the chemical can burn to the bone and are prone to reigniting if a piece of the phosphorus remaining in the wound is exposed to air when a dressing is changed.

    “No matter how white phosphorus is used, it poses a high risk of horrific and long-lasting harm in crowded cities like Raqqa and Mosul and any other areas with concentrations of civilians,” said Steve Goose, arms director at Human Rights Watch.

    The US claims of using white phosphorus as a smoke screen or signal ring hollow when assessing the damage reported on the ground in Syria and Iraq.

    Just as the rights groups warned, civilian casualties were, in fact, a reality from the coalition’s deployment of white phosphorus.

    Xinhua News, China’s state press agency, reported last week that “Tens of civilians were killed on Thursday when the U.S.-led airstrikes targeted Syria’s northern city of Raqqa with white phosphorus,” citing a report from Syria’s Sham FM radio.

    Russia’s Riafan.ru reported that “Coalition forces led by the United States of America shell Raqqa and suburbs of white phosphorus munitions,” citing reports on Twitter, which said the U.S.-backed coalition conducted 20 air raids.

    Although the total number of civilian deaths has not been entirely confirmed, early reports suggest that nearly 50 people were killed.

    “Horrific civilian harm from previous use of white phosphorus has generated public outrage and this latest use of white phosphorus underscores the urgent need for states to strengthen international law relating to incendiary weapons,” HRW’s Goose said.

    Although NPR happened to have the general admit to them US forces are using white phosphorus, no other mainstream outlet in America has picked up this bombshell story.

    Their silence shows their complicit nature in covering up the alleged war crimes of the West.

    “US-led forces should take all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm when using white phosphorus in Iraq and Syria,” Goose said of the situation. However, from the reports on the ground, that appears not to be the case.

    In the video below, the US-led coalition is dropping white phosphorus bombs on Western Mosul. Watch for yourself and decide whether or not it was being used as a ‘tool’ to allow civilians to escape.

    http://muricatoday.com/us-chemical-w...ivilians-iraq/

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    US soldiers 'killed Afghan civilians for sport and collected fingers as trophies'



    Soldiers face charges over secret 'kill team' which allegedly murdered at random and collected fingers as trophies of war

    Twelve American soldiers face charges over a secret "kill team" that allegedly blew up and shot Afghan civilians at random and collected their fingers as trophies.


    Five of the soldiers are charged with murdering three Afghan men who were allegedly killed for sport in separate attacks this year. Seven others are accused of covering up the killings and assaulting a recruit who exposed the murders when he reported other abuses, including members of the unit smoking hashish stolen from civilians.

    In one of the most serious accusations of war crimes to emerge from the Afghan conflict, the killings are alleged to have been carried out by members of a Stryker infantry brigade based in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.

    According to investigators and legal documents, discussion of killing Afghan civilians began after the arrival of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs at forward operating base Ramrod last November. Other soldiers told the army's criminal investigation command that Gibbs boasted of the things he got away with while serving in Iraq and said how easy it would be to "toss a grenade at someone and kill them".

    One soldier said he believed Gibbs was "feeling out the platoon".

    Investigators said Gibbs, 25, hatched a plan with another soldier, Jeremy Morlock, 22, and other members of the unit to form a "kill team". While on patrol over the following months they allegedly killed at least three Afghan civilians. According to the charge sheet, the first target was Gul Mudin, who was killed "by means of throwing a fragmentary grenade at him and shooting him with a rifle", when the patrol entered the village of La Mohammed Kalay in January.

    Morlock and another soldier, Andrew Holmes, were on guard at the edge of a poppy field when Mudin emerged and stopped on the other side of a wall from the soldiers. Gibbs allegedly handed Morlock a grenade who armed it and dropped it over the wall next to the Afghan and dived for cover. Holmes, 19, then allegedly fired over the wall.

    Later in the day, Morlock is alleged to have told Holmes that the killing was for fun and threatened him if he told anyone.

    The second victim, Marach Agha, was shot and killed the following month. Gibbs is alleged to have shot him and placed a Kalashnikov next to the body to justify the killing. In May Mullah Adadhdad was killed after being shot and attacked with a grenade.

    The Army Times reported that a least one of the soldiers collected the fingers of the victims as souvenirs and that some of them posed for photographs with the bodies.

    Five soldiers – Gibbs, Morlock, Holmes, Michael Wagnon and Adam Winfield – are accused of murder and aggravated assault among other charges. All of the soldiers have denied the charges. They face the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

    The killings came to light in May after the army began investigating a brutal assault on a soldier who told superiors that members of his unit were smoking hashish. The Army Times reported that members of the unit regularly smoked the drug on duty and sometimes stole it from civilians.

    The soldier, who was straight out of basic training and has not been named, said he witnessed the smoking of hashish and drinking of smuggled alcohol but initially did not report it out of loyalty to his comrades. But when he returned from an assignment at an army headquarters and discovered soldiers using the shipping container in which he was billeted to smoke hashish he reported it.

    Two days later members of his platoon, including Gibbs and Morlock, accused him of "snitching", gave him a beating and told him to keep his mouth shut. The soldier reported the beating and threats to his officers and then told investigators what he knew of the "kill team".

    Following the arrest of the original five accused in June, seven other soldiers were charged last month with attempting to cover up the killings and violent assault on the soldier who reported the smoking of hashish. The charges will be considered by a military grand jury later this month which will decide if there is enough evidence for a court martial. Army investigators say Morlock has admitted his involvement in the killings and given details about the role of others including Gibbs. But his lawyer, Michael Waddington, is seeking to have that confession suppressed because he says his client was interviewed while under the influence of prescription drugs taken for battlefield injuries and that he was also suffering from traumatic brain injury.

    "Our position is that his statements were incoherent, and taken while he was under a cocktail of drugs that shouldn't have been mixed," Waddington told the Seattle Times.


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ilians-fingers

    Comments:

    These invaders engaged in mass rape, torture and killing of civilians over the decade of occupation in Afghanistan and Iraq. These little stories that come out are only a tip of the ice berg.





 

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